A recent study directed by Dr. Anthony Hesketh found that the role of HR directors in the management of corporations has been growing in importance. According to the study, most HR directors now serve on an executive management committee, and nearly half also have a seat on the board of directors.
The recent economic downturn is partially responsible. Looking for ways to trim their budgets, CEOs are increasingly relying on their HR directors, trusting them to use their intimate knowledge of corporate employees to identify who can be cut and who must be retained.
As their role expands, HR directors are increasingly facing pressure to familiarise themselves with the work being done by other departments. The evolving role of HR personnel appears to be meeting with some resistance – Dr. Hesketh reports that only 50% of the HR directors he surveyed were aware of the part they played in their company’s overall business model.
Dr. Hesketh and other researchers agree – with the increased influence being given to their departments, HR directors will be expected to change their outlook and vocabulary. To retain their new positions at the upper levels of corporate decision-making, HR personnel will have to begin approaching problems with a renewed focus on profitability.